Chef de Mission, Russia
1) Why has it taken so long for Europe to stage its first continental Games?
Due to the tight calendar of European competitions, as it was difficult to find a spot for such a big event.
2) What makes Baku the perfect host city to stage the inaugural European Games?
They have enthusiasm, they have political stability, they have will and they have the resources to stage the inaugural European Games.
3) How big do you think your team for Baku 2015 will be and how many sports will you be represented in?
We will have 359 athletes and take part in all sports except athletics.
4) How important is it for the success and appeal of the European Games that some sports afford athletes the opportunity to qualify for Olympic Games?
Yes, this fact means a lot especially for the sports with direct qualification.
5) What is the significance of the Games for the European Olympic Movement and how confident are you that they will become sport’s flagship event on the continent?We hope that the European Games will become as popular as the Pan-American or Asian Games, which have stability and a long successful history.
6) How impressed have you been by the facilities to be used for the European Games and the work of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee in ensuring their delivery and readiness?
We were very much impressed by the facilities and think that they are world class, especially the Shooting Range, National Stadium, Gymnastics Arena and Athletes’ Village.
7) Are there any sports not represented that you would like to see in the European Games?
Athletics and weightlifting.
8) How symbolic is it that the first ever European Games will take place in a country that has experienced a major re-birth of its own since gaining independence in 1991?
This question, I think, should be addressed mainly to Azerbaijani people because here it is difficult for us to say something.
9) How interested do you think the public in your country will be in the Games?
This is a new event but in our country people like sport, so we hope there will be a lot of interest in this event especially if our athletes perform well.
10) What are you looking forward to most at Baku 2015?
We are looking forward to the great performances of our athletes and hospitality of local people, which they are famous for.
Interview by Daniel Etchells